It’s like coming home again for Susan Mishler.
During the regular monthly meeting Tuesday of the Wawasee school board, Mishler was introduced as the new principal of Wawasee Middle School. She will replace Dennis Howland, who resigned effective at the end of the current academic year.
Mishler lives at Camelot Lake near Milford with her husband, Phil, a physical education teacher and the head boys basketball coach at Wawasee High School. She will be the principal in the same building she attended school at during her middle school years.
Mishler is presently an assistant principal at Goshen Middle School. She has been in Goshen since 2007 and spent most of the time as a sixth-grade assistant principal. Previous experience includes three years as an assistant principal at East Noble High School, athletic director for one year at Whitko High School and assistant athletic director, teacher and coach at Warsaw Community High School. She was selected from among nearly 30 applicants.
She has worked closely with the Maple City Kiwanis Club Tools-4-Schools program and serves on the board of directors for the Lakeland Youth Center. Mishler has a master’s degree from IPFW and a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Ball State University.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the board heard a presentation from Ryan Edgar, math teacher at WMS, about the robotics program he oversees. A few years ago, Edgar began offering summer camps for robotics, where students use Legos to build robots and then program the movements of the robots through computer software programs. Interest grew and an after school club was formed, now including 17 students who are mostly in middle school but a few are in elementary grades.
In November, several robotics students, under the supervision of Edgar, participated for the first time in a competition at Grace College. They had to give presentations based on a theme. The theme chosen was seniors citizens, or more specifically, How Can You Help Seniors?
The robotics had to be designed to clearly show how technology can help senior citizens, such as how a wheelchair or power scooter can navigate up ramps or around cracks or holes in sidewalks. After the first of three rounds in the competition, the Wawasee students were only in about 18th place out of 22 teams, but eventually finished third overall.
Edgar gave a brief demonstration to the board showing how a robot can be programmed to move a specific distance to pick up an item and bring it back.
He noted interest in robotics has grown recently, but with a few exceptions girls have not joined the club. He plans to offer events only for girls starting with the next school year in an effort to increase their numbers. “I think they probably feel a little intimidated being around so many guys,” he said.
In other business, the board heard about a new early career opportunities camp for at-risk middle school students to begin this summer. Kim Nguyen, career and technical office director, said the camp will allow students to explore the various career and technical opportunities available at the high school including agriculture, culinary arts, building trades and others.
Nguyen said most of the activities will take place in the high school classrooms, but physical education related events will be held at various locations off campus and the first day of the camp will be at Quaker Haven at Dewart Lake. “There will be no book and no homework,” he said. “It will just be fun activities,” adding students can earn points for the activities they participate in and also some school credit hours.
Also on the agenda, the board approved establishing a new fraternization policy for school corporation employees. David Cates, school corporation attorney, said the policy is designed to avoid entering into litigation issues as much as possible. The policy states employees are discouraged from dating or otherwise engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with other employees. If such a relationship does occur, the superintendent may take action to prevent the appearance or occurrence of a conflict of interest, favoritism or sexual harassment.
Those actions could include, but not be limited to, reassignment of departments, work, offices or other appropriate action. Mary Lou Dixon, board member, voted against the policy. “This is the 21st century and I think we are going back to the 19th century here,” she said. “I don’t think this is the way to deal with corporation employees and I don’t like it.”
In other business, superintendent Dr. Tom Edington told the board he will make a presentation at the June board meeting concerning a school resource officer pilot program at Milford School. The pilot program would begin in August when the 2013-14 academic year begins. Milford Town Council has discussed the SRO, but has not voted on it yet.
Board members said they want to make sure officers are trained properly so consistency is established. Bob Cockburn, a member of the town council and also the data specialist for the school corporation, said he wants the officers to be more than security guards and also resources to help students, too.
It was also noted that this year’s WHS graduation ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, in the spectator gym of the high school.
For more in-depth report of last night’s school board meeting, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.